Hi everyone, hope you're all having a nice weekend. Long post alert sorry!
I'm a mum of two girls - one of six and one of six months. I recently spent six weeks in a Mother and Baby Unit after a severe postnatal illness, for which I never actually received a clear diagnosis, so I may not be posting in the right place. I'm also blind, and manage my disability pretty well, put it this way, it has and never will hold me back.
My mental health on the other hand, is a very different story. I first became unwell when my eldest daughter was about 3 months old. It started with me hearing something odd in her voice whenever I fed her formula, but nobody believed there was anything wrong. The situation got worse and worse for me, climaxing in a full-scale meltdown where I believed she was seriously ill, deaf mute and would not last the day. I rushed her to the doctor, who said she was absolutely fine, but I didnt believe anyone, and thought the whole world was against me. This belief lasted for about a year, during which I didn't receive any proper treatment other than some weekly counselling which I organised myself. I spent six months going through what felt like torture, thinking my daughter would be snatched away by some horrible illness, and that her supposed deafness would prevent us from communicating with one another for life. My anxiety was sky-high, and I definitely felt depressed as well, at times feeling like I couldn't go on anymore.
It seems completely ridiculous to me now that I ever believed all this, as she is one of the biggest chatterboxes in history, and is bright as a button.
Although I was petrified of becoming ill again, I tried really hard to put measures in place to prevent another episode of mental illness. I mentioned it at every midwife appointment, I notified my GP, I spoke to basically everyone associated with my antenatal care, as well as to my counsellor and got support organised from Homestart, to try and take the pressure off. My parents also came up after the birth to help in the house, so I basically didn't have to lift a finger, all i had to do was eat, sleep,breastfeed and change nappies.
but I let things slide, I stopped eating properly, I couldn't sleep, I started obsessing and worrying about whether my baby would be allergic to milk like her big sistr, and when it turned out she was, I panicked and started expressing round the clock to try and make sure she had only my milk. I must've baught about ten breast pumps by the time she was 3 months old, and I was spending up to 12 hours a day pumping, forgetting to bond with her, forgetting to cuddle her, to play with her, to nurture her. I still thought I was coping, I still thought I would be OK.
but one day I just woke up and couldn't stop crying. Then the terror came out of nowhere. Complete and utter terror of I didn't know what, that paralysed me and made me feel like I was going insane. After that came loads of changes in mood. One minute I was fine, then the next minute I felt like i was dying. The world turned into this underverse, where anything was possible, it was like a living nightmare. I started having almost constant vertigo, I stopped sleeping and couldn't eat, I started to feel like I was disappearing into a dream-world and that I'd never come out. I felt physically unwell, and just couldn't stop shaking, crying and was physically sick as well. In short, I felt like I'd been hit by a train and had wound up in hell.
I eventually went to the GP, got sent here there and everywhere for assessments, culminating in admition to the MBU. I spent three weeks getting worse, then three weeks getting better. At my worst, I was hearing scrambled voices whispering indecipherable messages each night, I was plagued by a constant buzzing and whirring noise that followed me around everywhere and sounded like the soundtrack to a horror film. I was seeing flashes of light every time someone spoke, and I felt like I was on a constant rollercoaster, which made it really hard to walk anywhere properly. I also believed I had a rare pryon brain disease that would eventually prove fatal, so I may as well do the worst before it clamed me. They put me on Sertreline and a small dose of quetiapine, which made everything worse at first, but I'm glad to say I eventually hit rock bottom and bounced back up.
I've been at home now for about six weeks, and I feel loads better, as well as having forged a wonderful bond with my little baby girl. These MBUs are priceless, and I wish every mother who needs it could receive treatment in one, it just isn't fair.
I guess my reason for posting on here is to try and connect with other mums who've gone through a life-changing experience of a similar magnetude. although I feel loads better, and am functional and stable now, I often feel overwhelmed by the memory of what happened to me, and am terrified one day it'll happen again. Please excuse the massively long post, and appologies if I'm posting on the wrong forum.
Hugs to all you amazing mummies,